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Untreated Heartburn May Raise Risk for Esophageal Cancer, Study Says

ke acid reflux and heartburn worse.
  • Avoid eating too much at one time, and keep upright after eating. Reclining with a full stomach can make symptoms worse.
  • Engage in light physical activity after eating; exercise can help digestion.
  • Anyone who takes medications for acid reflux -- such as Prilosec, Nexium, Prevacid, Zantac or Pepcid -- should take their medication regularly to reduce the level of acid in their stomach.
  • Get screened for esophageal cancer. White men aged 50 or older who have been affected by acid reflux for more than 10 to 15 years should consider being screened for Barrett's esophagus. If caught early, the changes in the esophagus lining can be treated.
  • Don't smoke.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and fatty foods, which can increase the risk for acid reflux.
  • People taking certain heart and blood-pressure drugs, such as calcium channel blockers and nitrates, may be at greater risk for acid reflux. These patients should discuss their risk factors and treatment options with their doctor.
  • Don't wear tight-fitting clothes.
  • The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be nearly 17,500 new cases of esophageal cancer in the United States in 2012, and more than 15,000 deaths from the disease.

    More information

    The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about esophageal cancer.

    -- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

    SOURCE: University of California, Los Angeles, Health Sciences, news release, July 16, 2012

    Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
    All rights reserved  

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